Lifetime opted not to renew cable's longest-running original drama, Strong Medicine, for a seventh season. The Sunday-night medical series, from Sony Pictures TV, nearly doubles Lifetime’s average prime time viewership, pulling in some 2.5 million viewers each episode.
However, the network decided Medicine's shelf life had expired. “It goes out on a high note,” said a network representative, noting the show is up 10% in total viewers over last season.
With 132 episodes, Medicine will likely have a long afterlife on Lifetime. The women’s network has exclusive rights to reruns of the show through 2010.
The decision leaves Lifetime with one original drama series – Lions Gate’s Missing. But new entertainment chief Susanne Daniels has promised more, particularly series that appeal to a wide female audience such as Gilmore Girls (which Daniels oversaw while heading up prime time series at The WB).
Lifetime may see a major rebranding in coming months under new leadership. The network welcomed new President/CEO Betty Cohen in April. In September, Lifetime let go of two top programming execs: Kelly Goode, senior VP, programming, and Bill Brand, senior VP, reality programming.